Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What? I actually have to live what I teach?

So here's the deal. Sunday morning we were invited by The Commons, a church plant up in Arlington, WA, to share what God is doing in Tacoma. I am always excited to get to be a part of another church's worship service and especially to get to share the vision of The Pathway and all that God is doing. As I spoke Sunday morning my main emphasis was that at The Pathway we are learning to "be the church" instead of just "going to church." Another thing I emphasized was that part of "being the church" is not drawing a line in the sand between personal life and ministry life. Ministry is personal. It's messy, it's painful, it's hard on your family. But when you truly let the two collide, God is glorified and brings life change.

Well, God didn't even let me finish the day before having to put my money where my mouth is. That night, as Kelli and I were falling asleep I got a call from a homeless man named Pat who is a part of our Community Group. He is a great guy. Honestly, he is busting his hump to get off the streets. He loves Jesus and is sharp mentally, he just has a really bad back and struggles to provide for his own needs. Well, Pat called and said he had been staying with some people the last couple weeks and the husband was beating the wife so he finally just took the wife and left. The wife just happens to be a paraplegic who struggles to live independently. They were borrowing a phone just to get ahold of us but they needed help... now.

Well, I could have not answered the phone. I could have said, "Pat, my wife and I are in bed, we have a busy day tomorrow, our twins are asleep and our oldest daughter Tiffany is already in bed too." I could have said, "Pat, we'll just figure this out tomorrow. You left so you're going to have to figure out tonight." Fortunately, by the grace of God, not 12 hours earlier I had claimed to be learning to "be the church." Well, we rolled out of bed, woke Tiffany up and gave her the baby monitor, and we went out to the park to meet up with Pat and Shannon.

Long story short it is a messy, painful and sad situation that I'm certain does not have an easy solution. We were able to get a voucher in the middle of the night from the YWCA to get Shannon a hotel room in a safe place. Now, my normal southern baptist self would never have agreed to allowing Pat to stay with her in that hotel room but God had set out a perfect plan. In talking with Shannon privately Kelli learned that she really couldn't easily stay in a hotel room by herself. She needed assistance. Still, Pat? A man? Not the husband? Well, Not 6 hours earlier God had taken us to another church service to hear a friend preach. They were teaching on the story of Ruth and Boaz. I was reminded of how Ruth lay under the covers at Boaz's feet and because it was God's plan, Boaz's heart was pure and she was safe. Although it was not the ideal situation that you would advice every woman to put herself in. God had put Ruth their for a reason. The same was true for Shannon and Pat. They are not Boaz and Ruth, but Pat was able to be there for her in a way that we could not. More than that, he was willing and his heart was pure. On top of it all, we were able to share with Shannon the hope she can have in her true Kinsmen Redeemer... Jesus Christ.

Being the church.
Is it messy? Yes.

Is it beautiful? You bet.

Thank you Lord for your providential hand.

Please pray for Shannon as we are still working through the possible situations to keep her safe and keep her off the streets. Specifically pray that she would be open to going to live with her daughter in Oregon and that her daughter would be open to having her.

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